Perhaps the most obvious is to increase precision, which really is a function of manufacturing and assembly tolerances, gear tooth surface finish, and the center distance of the tooth mesh. Sound is also suffering from gear and housing materials along with lubricants. In general, be prepared to pay out more for quieter, smoother gears.
Don’t make the mistake of over-specifying the engine. Remember, the input pinion on the planetary must be able deal with the motor’s output torque. What’s more, if you’re utilizing a multi-stage gearhead, the output stage should be strong enough to absorb the developed torque. Obviously, using a better motor than necessary will require a bigger and more expensive gearhead.
Consider current limiting to safely impose limitations on gearbox size. With servomotors, result torque is usually a linear function of current. Therefore besides protecting the gearbox, current limiting also defends the electric motor and drive by clipping peak torque, which can be anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 times continuous torque.
In each planetary stage, five gears are at the same time in mesh. Although you can’t really totally get rid of noise from such an assembly, there are many ways to reduce it.
As an ancillary benefit, the geometry of planetaries matches the form of electric motors. Therefore the gearhead could be close in diameter to the servomotor, with the output shaft in-line.
Highly rigid (servo grade) gearheads are generally more costly than lighter duty types. However, for speedy acceleration and deceleration, a servo-grade gearhead could be the only sensible choice. In such applications, the gearhead may be viewed as a mechanical spring. The torsional deflection resulting from the spring action increases backlash, low backlash planetary gearbox compounding the effects of free shaft motion.
Servo-grade gearheads incorporate several construction features to reduce torsional stress and deflection. Among the more common are large diameter output shafts and beefed up support for satellite-gear shafts. Stiff or “rigid” gearheads tend to be the costliest of planetaries.
The type of bearings supporting the output shaft depends upon the load. High radial or axial loads usually necessitate rolling element bearings. Small planetaries could get by with low-cost sleeve bearings or additional economical types with fairly low axial and radial load ability. For larger and servo-grade gearheads, heavy duty result shaft bearings are usually required.
Like the majority of gears, planetaries make noise. And the faster they operate, the louder they get.
Low-backlash planetary gears are also obtainable in lower ratios. While some types of gears are generally limited by about 50:1 and up, planetary gearheads extend from 3:1 (solitary stage) to 175:1 or more, depending on the amount of stages.